Florida school principal resigns after complaints over “pornographic” David sculpture

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A Florida charter school principal resigned her position this week after parents complained when sixth-grade students were shown photos of Michelangelo’s “David” statue during an art history lesson.

Hope Carrasquilla offered her resignation to the Tallahassee Classical School’s board after parents alleged the images of one of the most famous and celebrated statues in the world were “pornographic” and “unsuitable” for the school, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

“It saddens me that my time here had to end this way,” Carrasquilla told the Tallahassee Democrat.

School board chair Barney Bishop told CBS News Saturday that Carrasquilla was asked to resign over “a number of other issues,” and the latest incident was the culmination. 

He claimed that Carrasquilla knew that if she blamed the Michelangelo photo for her resignation, the “mainstream media” would “twist it” and wouldn’t report the truth. 

A public tuition-free lottery-based charter school, the facility opened its doors in 2020 to the Tallahassee community and offers classical instruction for about 350 students, according to its website. The school is affiliated with Hillsdale College, a conservative  Christian college, and follows its curriculum.   

Carrasquilla was the school’s third principal since it opened its doors, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. Bishop told CBS News that the first principal became pregnant before she took the role, and the second was an interim principal commuting from Texas. 

In July of 2022, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the Parental Rights in Education bill to give parents more control over what their children learn at school.  A recent bill banned Florida schools from teaching about menstruation, a house panel backed partisan school board races, and schools need a valid media specialist to review books.

We have always shared David with our scholars and will continue to do so. We will follow our policy and notify our…

Posted by Tallahassee Classical School on Friday, March 24, 2023

Tallahassee Classical School protocol states that the administration must notify parents before children are shown any lesson plans that could be controversial, Bishop told CBS News. Art teachers show photos of David every year and letters are always sent, Bishop said.  

This year, however, a letter was not sent out, Bishop said, adding that 97% of parents agreed to the lesson and the ones who didn’t were “entitled to have that opinion.”

A request for further comment from Carrasquilla wasn’t immediately returned.

Tallahassee Classical School said the school “has always shared David with our scholars and will continue to do so,” in a statement on their Facebook page. They posted it alongside a photo of Michelangelo’s “David” — which the Italian Renaissance artist sculpted from marble from 1501 to 1504 — showing the statue’s full nudity. 

“We will follow our policy and notify our parents in advance so they can make their own decision if it is age appropriate for their child,” the school said. 

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